In the near future, Code 46 is a portrayal of a divided society where people’s lives are predetermined. Those with the right DNA who marry someone else with the right DNA live in the city and have the benefits of good homes, health care and jobs. Those who do not have the right DNA live in the desert wilderness. People often seek illegal “cover” in order to improve their lot in life. William Geld (Tim Robbins), a cunning fraud investigator, seeks out violators of Code 46 in Shanghai and brings them to justice. He is on a case involving a company that makes “papelles” — computer chips that serve as passports. Maria Gonzales (Samantha Morton) works for this company and becomes a suspect in the illegal distribution of these papelles to Code 46 violators. During his investigation, William is drawn to and falls in love with Maria. He chooses not to blow her cover. Through a series of events, both become violators of Code 46.
This apparent low-budget sci-fi movie is devoid of a plot or any dialog of depth or significance. The first hour of the film is needed to learn the meanings of the made-up words. In this futuristic society, people must receive permission from the government before they can procreate. If their DNA does not match and a child is conceived, the parents are in violation of Code 46, and the unborn child is terminated. The gratuitous sexual themes, one encounter that includes brief frontal nudity and the moral offense to the unborn make “Code 46” not a family-friendly film.